FlowTriever Removes Blood Clots


PITTSBURGH, Pa. (Ivanhoe Newswire)— A pulmonary embolism is a blockage or clot in one of the pulmonary arteries leading to the lung that can lead to death in up to one-third of all patients. While blood thinners are often administered to break up the clot, there is one FDA approved device that surgeons can use for removal. More on the surprising findings from a new study.

A pulmonary embolism may strike otherwise healthy men and women, and in many cases, there is little to no warning. Patients need immediate medical attention to restore blood flow. One FDA approved medical device allows surgeons to thread a catheter into a patient’s pulmonary artery to grab the clot. It’s called the FlowTriever.

“It consists of a large bore aspiration catheter, and this forms as you pass across the clot and retrieve them with the clot in it,” explained Catalin Toma, MD, director of interventional cardiology at University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

(Read Full Interview)

Dr. Toma led a national review of the FlowTriever in a study called FLASH. Early results show the device was safe in 230 patients tested, with few major side effects, and there was an almost immediate improvement in patients.

“It acts very quickly. It gives you a very quick effect, by taking the clot out, you see an immediate benefit on the table in terms of hemodynamic improvement, symptoms improvement, heart rate improvement,” described Dr. Toma.

Helping restore PE patients to good health.

Researchers also had one other unexpected, but welcome finding, surgeons said the device worked for patients who had pulmonary embolisms as a result of COVID-19. It’s important to note that Dr. Toma reports no ties to Inari Medical, the company that designed the FlowTriever.

Contributors to this news report include: Cyndy McGrath, Executive Producer & Field Producer; Kirk Manson, Videographer; Roque Correa, Editor.

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REPORT:       MB #4833

BACKGROUND: Death as a result of a lung clot is on the rise, particularly among Black individuals and people under 65. This follows nearly a decade of decline in lung clot morbidity. Lung clots, or blockages in one of the pulmonary arteries, is called pulmonary embolism and is part of a broader disease called venous thromboembolism, or VTE, where blood clots start in the veins. VTE also includes deep vein thrombosis, or DVT, a clot deep in the body, typically a leg. If such clot breaks free it can travel to the lungs and cause a fatal pulmonary embolism. Pulmonary embolism and DVT kill about 100,000 Americans each year, according to the CDC.

(Source: https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/news/2020/study-death-rate-lung-clots-rise-after-years-decline)

DIAGNOSING: Symptoms of pulmonary embolism can vary widely depending on how much the lung is involved, the size of the clots, and whether there are any underlying cardiovascular or pulmonary diseases. These symptoms can include shortness of breath that gets worse with exertion. Also, chest pain or feeling like you’re having a heart attack, sharp pain felt when breathing deeply, preventing deep breaths, also felt when coughing or bending. Also, coughing, especially if coughing is producing bloody to blood-streaked sputum. Other symptoms or signs include, rapid or irregular heartbeat, lightheadedness or dizziness, excessive sweating, fever, leg pain or swelling, usually in the calf, and clammy or discolored skin.

(Source: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/pulmonary-embolism/symptoms-causes/syc-20354647)

NEW TECHNOLOGY: A key life-saving method of treatment is early intervention. The clot must be removed quickly to avoid fatalities. Now, a study called FLASH has investigated a new device for removing blood clots in pulmonary embolism. The device is called the FlowTriever. It allows surgeons to thread a lar bore aspiration catheter through a patient’s pulmonary artery that contains the clot; it passes across the clot and retrieves them. Catalin Toma, MD, director of interventional cardiology at University of Pittsburgh Medical Center says, “This is the first device of its kind, specifically FDA- approved for this goal. The FlowTriever is a dedicated device designed to extract clots from the pulmonary vasculature in patients with pulmonary embolism.” Prior methods of treatment involved thrombolytics, medications that would break up the clots and came with great risks of bleeding into the head or severe bleeding. The FlowTriever is a minimally invasive procedure with greatly reduced risks.

(Source: Catalin Toma, MD, Director of Interventional Cardiology, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center)





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Doctor Q and A

Read the entire Doctor Q&A for Catalin Toma, MD, Director of Interventional Cardiology

Read the entire Q&A